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Semester 1

Natural Hazards (EASC08011)


Earth Science





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Course Summary

The restlessness of our planet is a consequence of the dynamic processes that operate over time both within it, on its surface and in its atmosphere. The dynamic character of the Earth System is not only responsible for our own existence, but also for inevitable natural hazards. This course will introduce the Earth System as a basis for characterising and understanding natural hazards, their causes and consequences. The major types of natural hazard will be described, analysed and assessed in terms of their underlying causes as well as their socio-economic and environmental impacts. This course capitalises on natural synergies between subsurface, surface and human dimensions of the Earth System. Hazards to be considered will include earthquakes and tsunamis, volcanic hazards (local, regional and global scale), meteorological hazards (hurricanes, tornados, dust storms, El Nino, flooding and coastal erosion), topographic hazards such as landslides, and hazards arising from climate change. The evidence for past natural catastrophes and hazards, recorded in natural archives, will be described along with remote sensing methods for documenting current hazards and hazard risk. The principles and application of risk assessment and analysis will be considered with respect to case studies. The Course comprises 20 lectures supplemented by a series of laboratory classes, together with a directed programme of reading. The Course is assessed by degree examination together with a series of practical exercises.

Course Description

SYLLABUSWeek 1: Introduction (Andy Bell)L1 - L2: Course outline, introduction to the course staff and description of the learning activities and assessment of the course. Introduction to natural hazards and risk. Vulnerability. Global governance for disaster risk reduction. UNDRR from Yokohama to the Sendai Framework. Quantifying disasters. Root causes of disaster impact.Weeks 2-4: Meteorological Hazards (Shipra Jain)L3 L8: Meteorological Hazards.Introduction: the main climate-/weather-related hazards in context of all natural hazards. Natural climate variability effects on the distribution and magnitudes of these hazards. How might (anthropogenic) climate change affect these hazards? Tropical cyclones and their prediction. Mid- latitudes storms and weather warnings over the UK. Floods and flood warnings. Heatwaves and droughts.Weeks 5-7 Earthquake Hazards and Tsunamis (John McCloskey)L9 L14: Earthquake Hazards and tsunamisWhere, when, and how big? Intensity, magnitude and seismic moment. Structural geology, earthquake focal mechanisms and relation to plate tectonics and global stress. Estimates of seismic hazard, time-independent and time dependent hazard; seismic sources; characteristic earthquakes and earthquake recurrence. Historical and paleo-seismology. Evidence from Sumatra. Self-organised criticality and the Gutenberg Richter relationship. Coulomb stress and earthquake interaction. Urbanisation, urban expansion and earthquake hazard. Tomorrow s Cities. Complexity, power laws and predictability. Ground motion and near surface heterogeneity. Generating tsunamis. Megathrust ruptures and submarine landslides Sulawesi earthquake and cascading hazards. The Sumatra Andaman earthquake and the Indian Ocean tsunami. Weeks 8-10: Volcanic Hazard and Risk, and Hazards associated with Slope Instabilities (Andy Bell)L15 - L19: Volcanism, its physical and chemical phenomenology; types of volcanoes and eruptions; Products of eruptions (lava, pyroclasts, gas); hazards, proximal and distal in accordance with volcano and eruption types; regional and global atmospheric effects. Case studies of volcanic hazards.L20: Hazard associated with surface topography and slope instability. Landslips and slope collapse; links with earthquakes, volcanism and weather.Week 11Recap and revision (Andy Bell, Shipra Jain, and John McCloskey)L21: Overview and questions (Andy Bell).L22: Overview and questions (Shipra Jain and John McCloskey).Further Course Information can be found at the following links:

Assessment Information

Written Exam 50%, Coursework 50%, Practical Exam 0%

Additional Assessment Information

ASSESSMENT STRUCTURE:Written Exam: 50%, Course Work: 50 %, Practical Exam: 0%.The Course comprises 20 one-hour lectures that are supplemented by a series of 4 four-hour practicals (tutorial and feedback), each spread over two weeks together with four hand-ins and directed programme of reading. The first practical will be assessed as a formative exercise only and will not count to the assessment of the course.Assessment of Practicals 2-4 will contribute equally to the course mark.The Course is assessed by:(a) A two-hour degree examination (50%)(b) 3 assessed practical exercises (50%)The overall course pass mark is 40% but in order to pass the course your marks in the exam and the coursework must each be at least 40% in each. A mark of »50% in one component will not compensate for a mark of «30% in the other.DEGREE EXAMINATION:There is a 2-hour Degree examination in December.- Example exam papers are available to help with your revision.- The School is empowered to withdraw your right to sit degree examinations if you have persistently failed to carry out the work of the course without good reason. Persistent failure to attend lectures, failure to attend practical classes or to hand in reports on time will be taken as evidence of inadequate performance unless an acceptable reason is given: normally a medical certificate is required in case of illness.All details related to extensions procedures and late penalties can be found in the School of Geosciences Handbook, on the Learn UG Student Information Hub.COURSEWORK ASSESSMENT DEADLINES:Each practical exercise will be completed over two practical sessions and will be handed in on completion. The first practical will be assessed as a formative exercise only and will not count to the assessment of the course. Assessment of Practicals 2-4 will contribute equally to the course mark.The exercises will be submitted electronically via Turnitin on the Course Learn page, by 12noon on the following dates:- Practical 1 (formative): Friday, week 4, 12noon- Practical 2 (summative): Friday, week 6, 12noon- Practical 3 (summative): Friday, week 8, 12noon- Practical 4 (summative): Friday, week 10, 12noon

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